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ICPAU to Gazette Qualified Accoutants to Fight Quacks :: Uganda Radionetwork
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ICPAU to Gazette Qualified Accoutants to Fight Quacks

The Accountants Act, 2013 states that person, shall not practice accountancy in Uganda without a certificate of practice issued under section 28 or 29, and provides a prison term of up to 34 months or a fine of 500 currency points or both.
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda, ICPAU has decided to periodically issue and gazette a list of accountants that will be legally mandated to carry out accountancy activities.

This is part of the efforts by the institute to ensure that only professional and licensed persons are deployed at certain levels in certain organisations. 

Accountancy services usually required by organisations and individuals include financial reporting, audit and assurance, tax advisory, financial management, cash flow management, risk management and transaction services, restructuring and insolvency, and general business advisory. 

"The temptation is to seek these services from any individual or firm which may appear to possess the required competencies whereas not," said Nancy Akullo, Head of Communications. 

Unfortunately, there are many of these organisations or individuals who are not aware of the important role of financial resources in this decision. 

According to the Accountants Act, 2013, any individual who offers accountancy services is deemed to be practising accountancy and they must possess a valid Certificate of Practice and a firm licence issued by ICPAU. The law also requires that Certificates of Practice and licences are renewed annually.

The Act also prescribes penalties for non-compliance in Part VII.

Section 35 (1) states that person, shall not practice accountancy in Uganda without a certificate of practice issued under section 28 or 29. "A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is, on conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred currency points or imprisonment not exceeding two years and ten months or both," says Subsection (2) of the same section.

The law does not apply to audit services only, but all accountancy services, according to Akullo.

ICPAU issues two categories of Certificates of Practice; one for all types of accountancy services including audit, while the second category is for non-assurance services like accounting and bookkeeping, advisory, valuation, tax consultancy, company secretarial, insolvency, and financial planning among others.

This implies that any individual who intends to offer accountancy services must obtain the relevant license. "So, why must providers of accountancy services possess valid Certificates of Practice and firm licenses? "Consumer protection," says the ICPAU publicist. 

"Practising accountants are bound by the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. This ensures that members of the public are protected in terms of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, and due care, confidentiality, and the professional behavior of the practitioner," she says. The other reason for this provision is to ensure professional competence. 

The minimum requirements for a Certificate of Practice are a professional accountancy qualification, ICPAU membership, and three years of relevant experience. "This ensures that practicing accountants possess both the technical and practical competencies required for accountancy services."

In addition to licensing, accounting firms are required to undergo periodic audit quality reviews performed by ICPAU, as part of the quality assurance process of the industry. "The purpose of the quality reviews is to ensure conformance with the International Standards on Audit. To this end, members of the public can trust the quality of work performed by licensed firms," according to Akullo.

It is important to note that work presented by non-licensed firms is inadmissible for tax and other legal purposes, and she explains why. "Such practices are not regulated, and the organisations or individuals that deal with them will not be able to seek redress from ICPAU in case of any disputes. Do not fall prey to quacks. Seek the services of a licensed accounting firm".

This year's list of accounting firms' licenses to offer Accountancy services will be published in the gazette this Friday and on the ICPAU website.

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